The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The inventor: electrical, mechanical, chemical

Have you ever seen a blueprint? I see them most days. They may not always be written in blue, but blueprints they are. You see, Ainan Celeste Cawley, my child prodigy son who has just turned seven, has had a strange habit for several years now: inventing things.

He tends to draw detailed diagrams of his inventions, with labels and arrows. The inventions are of various types: those that depend on electrical principles, mechanical principles and chemical principles. Often he mixes all three principles together. Some of his devices are very interesting indeed. However, owing to the need for intellectual privacy, I am only going to speak in generalities about them.

He will sometimes do a series of drawings to show the device in operation, capturing it as it changes through various states. He comes to me with these drawings and adds further verbal explanations of their principles. I sometimes get lost in the torrent of explanation - but there is always good scientific or technical sense in what he has to say. Basically, his devices would work, whether or not they are the most practical solution to the problem he has addressed. Some of them are highly imaginative solutions, the like of which I have not seen before. Others recreate some similar to key historical inventions - without him being aware that another has beaten him to it. Yet, this in itself, is promising - for it shows that had that other never been, Ainan would have invented it.

As I watch him draw scientific devices, I am reminded of another figure, lost in time, who had a propensity to draw scientific devices: Leonardo Da Vinci. I am left to wonder: what was Leonardo like as a child? Did he invent in childhood drawings? Did he write scientific treatises incessantly? Was he ever spouting scientific monologues, on ever changing topics?

We may never know what Leonardo Da Vinci was like as a child - but we do know that he did these things as an adult. Ainan Celeste Cawley does the same kind of thing as a child. Like all parents, I sometimes wonder what my son will become when he grows up. With him my wonderings are in the realm of science: how far will he go? Will he maintain his interest? Will this precocious scientific and technical productivity lead to great adult output?

Only the passing years will answer my questions. Yet, I can say this: just as the foundation and lower floors of a tall building determine its shape to a great extent, so too do the early years of a human life. In looking at the shape of Ainan's early deeds, it is not difficult to see an adult scientific genius to come.

That would be good to see. Carry on Ainan!

(If you would like to read more of my scientific child prodigy son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, savant, the creatively gifted, and gifted children in general.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:14 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see some pictures!

8:23 AM  
Blogger EbTech said...

I would be interested in seeing them as well!

Is there any chance you could describe some of his historical re-inventions in detail? Intellectual privacy should be less of a problem in those cases.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

It would take a lot of digging around in old notebooks...time consuming. We will see if I can find the time sometime.

1:32 AM  

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